Family in trouble, ancient mysteries, warlords, and rocket ships that take off and land vertically, as God and Robert Heinlein intended.  These is a short list of some of the awesome stuff to be found in Mike Kupari’s first solo novel, Her Brother’s Keeper.

It is hundreds of years in the future, on the far side of the Great Interregnum, a dark age where human interstellar civilization effectively ceased to be.  Humanity is starting to build a spacefaring civilization again, rediscovering many of the lost artifacts and worlds of the Second Federation, many of which are far beyond their technical knowledge.

Catherine Blackwood, captain of the Polaris-class privateer Andromeda, has been called home by her estranged father for a contract: journey to the lawless frontier world of Zanzibar.  Her brother has been taken hostage by a local warlord, and Catherine has to get him back.  Her feuds with her father forgotten, she gets to work recruiting a ground-combat team, and heads out into the black, on the long road to Zanzibar and her imperilled family.

Along the way, the Andromeda and her crew encounter ancient derelicts, aliens, cultish colonists, a sort of space North Korea, and the enduring mysteries of Zanzibar.  Also, since this is a Kupari novel, lots of action.

The worldbuilding is phenomenal.  There are centuries of history to be plumbed in the universe and backstory that Mike has created.  He doesn’t answer all of the mysteries presented in Her Brother’s Keeper, either, leaving some of them up in the air for either the reader to ponder, and/or to be dealt with in a later story.  It lends a depth to the storytelling that is very well done.

The science is also gratifyingly hard.  There’s no artificial gravity, spacecraft are described flying like spacecraft, not seagoing naval vessels or WWII warbirds.  The ships are also laid out in a logical manner, where the direction of the decks, i.e., “down,” is toward the engines, so any artificial gravity is generated by thrust, rather than handwavium.  No aircraft carriers in space, here.

At its heart, though, Her Brother’s Keeper is an adventure story, and so the science and worldbuilding, as well thought out as they are, take a back seat to the plot and the action.  Both are well done and fast paced.  You’ll be sorry to see it end, and probably find yourself asking, “When’s the sequel coming out?”

If you want a bit of a taste beforehand, Mike has a short story, set just before the beginning of Her Brother’s Keeper, entitled Ember of the Past, up on Baen.com.  If that doesn’t whet your appetite, I don’t know what to tell you.

Her Brother’s Keeper is out today.  You can order it here.

Book Review: Her Brother’s Keeper

Peter Nealen

Peter Nealen is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. Works by Peter include: The American Praetorians Series Task Force Desperate (October 2012) - ebook , paperback and audiobook Hunting in the Shadows (June 2013) - ebook and paperback Alone and Unafraid (August 2014) - ebook and paperback The Devil You Don't Know (June 2015) - ebook and paperback Lex Talionis (June 2017) - ebook and paperback The Jed Horn Series A Silver Cross and a Winchester (October 2013) - ebook and paperback Nightmares (January 2015)- ebook and paperback The Walker on the Hills (December 2015) - ebook and paperback Older and Fouler Things (September 2017) - ebook and paperback The Brannigan's Blackhearts Series/Universe Kill Yuan (Spring 2016) - ebook and paperback Fury in the Gulf (November 2017) - ebook and paperback Burmese Crossfire (January 2018) - ebook and paperback Enemy Unidentified (March 2018) - ebook and paperback Frozen Conflict (May 2018) - ebook and paperback High Desert Vengeance (August 2018) - ebook and paperback Doctors of Death (December 2018) - ebook and paperback The Unity Wars Series (P.L. Nealen) The Fall of Valdek (July 2018) - ebook and paperback The Defense of Provenia (August 2018) - ebook and paperback The Alliance Rises (September 2018) - ebook and paperback Short Stories Rock Meet Hard Place (Part I) - Baen Books Blog Non-Fiction Operation Redwings: The Rescue Story Behind Lone Survivor (December 2013) - ebook only The ISIS Solution: How Unconventional Thinking and Special Operations Can Eliminate Radical Islam (SOFREP) (November 2014) - ebook only

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